Come On – It’s Only A Wheel Arch!
Last weekend saw Toyota bring out its TS030 Le Mans P1 racer for the first time since the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. You’ll recall that they surprised everyone by turning up in a totally non traditional blue colour scheme, almost looking like the Peugeot of last year. Perhaps there was some marketing angle going on there, with that. At the Paul Ricard test, the car was Toyota red.
Things have changed again, this time with Toyota sporting a rather interesting rear wng, that incorporates two extra winglets. Except Toyota is calling them ‘wheel arches’. It’s a very clever loophole in the rule book, which is giving an estimated 25-30% more downforce at the rear. Consequently the front areo has been modified to rebalance the car.
After leading several times at the Silverstone WEC round and taking second place behind the Audi R18 e-Tron Quattro, Toyota has shown it can take the fight to Audi both in sprint moments and race long tussles. A win can’t be far off.
Take a look at the evolution of the aero on the TS030, from the test day, through LM24 and now at the WEC race.
Above & below – at the Paul Ricard test day
Above – At LM24, in blue
Above – Last weekend at Silverstone. Note the extra winglets and compare it to the Audi R18 behind.
Below – The front splitter has been updated and the winglets now run the full width of the car.
Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director of Toyota Racing was asked whether it was a legal wing.
“It is simple – it’s not a rear wing, it’s a wheelarch!
“It’s just, I would say, a clever understanding of the regulations. We must have openings on the wheels, so we have designed a wheel arch that means, when the hole is open, it looks like that. Simple. It is just doing things differently. When you open the wheelarch, it has the shape you see. The ‘winglets’ you see are the rearward part of the wheelarch. Nothing prevents you from adding a second endplate.”
For a closer inspection of the TS030 updates take a look on the Mulsanne Corner website.